September 29 2010
Listen: Let's do a little mental exercise -- when you think of the words 'factory' and 'farming,' what are the first images that comes to mind? Anonymous fields of crops? Crowded pens of ruminants? Maybe a film or activist eagerly discussing bio-diversity?
Right here in Milwaukee, Sweet Water Organics has flipped the idea of 'factory farming' on its head, not bringing factory to the farm but rather bringing farming to the factory. One block off Kinnikinnick on the northern edge of Bay View, Sweet Water Organics is building vertical agriculture systems that are simple as they are ingenious. A big fish pool, two or three shelves of crops above them, and water continuously circulating throughout the system. Sure, there's plenty of intricacy and innovation integrated into their setup, but those are the pillars. Take a look at the pictures.
When I first walked into the main Sweet Water space, I felt slack-jawed awe. Visually, it's futuristic (an indoor Hanging Gardens of Babylon?) yet somehow precedented (a 3-dimensional Garden of Eden?). But as soon as I got past the initial jolt, their ideas slowly locked into place. Listen as Emmanuel Pratt from the Sweet Water Foundation (an offshoot of Organics that focuses on education) puts it all into words:
Learn more about Sweet Water Organics/Foundation here! And if you'd like to take a tour (and trust me -- you really do) more information can be found at their website. Also, if you'd like to get further inside, you can get involved awesome volunteering opportunities!
Produced by: Adam Carr